Powerflush nearby to Harpenden
Harpenden is a town and civil parish in the City and District of St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. According to the 2011 census, the population of the built-up area was 30,240, while the population of the civil parish was 29,448. Harpenden is a commuter town with a direct rail connection to Central London and property prices that are more than three times higher than the national average.
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In the area, there is evidence of pre-Roman Belgic farmers. A bronze escutcheon, rams-head shaped mounts, and a bronze bowl were discovered in 1867.
There are Roman ruins in the area around Harpenden, such as the site of a mausoleum in Rothamsted Park.
In the 1820s, a tumulus near the Lea River was discovered, which contained a Romano-Celtic stone sarcophagus. Inside were five objects dating from around 150 AD, including a glass jug with a Mediterranean stamp and libation dishes made of samian ware.
Up until the 13th century, the parish consisted of woodland with small hamlets and single farmsteads centred on cleared areas known as “Ends” or “Greens,” of which there are 19 Ends and 18 Greens in the Harpenden and Wheathampstead parishes. Many of these are still in use today.
Westminster Abbey’s gradual clearing of woodland for farming and settlement within its Wheathampstead manor, granted by Edward the Confessor in 1060, resulted in Harpenden village. The first mention of a parish church is in 1221 (where it is referred to as Harpendene), implying that the village grew up around that time. The church of St. Nicholas is the town’s oldest structure, having been built in 1217 as a Chapel of Ease.
Just beyond the town’s southern outskirts is Nomansland Common (also known as “No Man’s Land”), where the Second Battle of St Albans was fought during the Wars of the Roses. Nomansland Common also hosted the first annual steeplechase in England, which was organised by Thomas Coleman in 1830, as well as the final fight of nineteenth-century bare-knuckle fighter Simon Byrne. It was also the haunt of Lady Katherine Ferrers, also known as the “Wicked Lady.”
Straw-weaving, a popular but now little-known Harpenden industry, was primarily a female-dominated trade in the nineteenth century. A skilled straw weaver can earn as much as a field labourer. The straw plaits were taken to St Albans or Luton specialist markets and purchased by dealers to be converted into straw items such as boaters and other hats or bonnets.
Harpenden’s surroundings were drastically altered by the arrival of the railway system in 1860 and the sale of farms for residential development after 1880. The Great Northern Railway’s Dunstable Branch first ran through Batford, with a station later renamed Harpenden East railway station (this line is now closed and forms a cycle track). The Midland Railway’s main line was built in 1868, with a station near the main village that still exists today and the nearby listed Southdown Road Skew Bridge. The Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead Railway, also known as the Nicky Line by locals, opened in 1877.
Between 1848 and 1914, the common was a popular horse racing venue. “Notwithstanding that these meetings are under the most unexceptional patronage as regards the Stewards,” wrote John Edwin Cussans in his History of Hertfordshire in 1879, “for two days in the year all the London pickpockets, sharpers, and blackguards who happen to be out of gaol are permitted to make Harpenden their own and to make travelling in a first-class carriage on the Midland Railway a danger to men and an impossibility to ladies.” Golf has been played on the Common since 1894, when Harpenden Golf Club was founded by a group of Harpenden residents with the assistance and financial support of Sir John Bennet Lawes of Rothamsted Manor. In 1931, the club relocated to a new course at Hammonds End, at which point the Harpenden Common Golf Club was formed by those who wanted to stay on the Common. Bamville Cricket Club was founded in 1932 and shares a portion of the Common with the Golfers.
Harpenden is home to Rothamsted Manor and Rothamsted Research (formerly Rothamsted Experimental Station and later the Institute of Arable Crops Research), a world-renowned agricultural research institute. A stone commemorating 50 years of experiments by Sir John Bennet Lawes and Joseph Henry Gilbert was erected in front of its main building, which faces the common, in 1893.
In 1834, Lawes inherited the family estate at Rothamsted. His early field experiments on Hertfordshire farms led him to patent a phosphate fertiliser, the sales of which enriched him enormously. He is known as the “Father of Agricultural Science.” In the 1850s, he established the experimental station and built laboratories with the proceeds. The station continued to research the artificial fertilisers on which most modern farmers rely. Some of Lawes and Gilbert’s long-term “classical field experiments” (such as Broadbalk) are still in place today, providing a unique resource for agricultural and environmental research.
The National Children’s Home relocated to Harpenden in 1913, with a large site called Highfield Oval that housed over 200 children. The site included a print shop, a carpenters’ and joiners’ shop, a bootmaker’s shop, and a farm where boys could learn their trades. Girls were primarily trained in domestic service, with some training in sewing and office work as well. The children were housed in “families” of 8-10 children, each led by a sister or house mother. The chapel was built in 1928 as a gift from Joseph Rank. Until 1985, the home was managed on-site. The site is now the headquarters of Youth with a Mission, a Christian missionary organisation based in the United States. The Harpenden Growth Study, one of the first longitudinal studies, was directed by James Mourilyan Tanner and followed the development of many of the children for several years.
Harpenden was used to evacuate children from heavily bombed London during WWII. Harpenden, on the other hand, was not completely confident in its security, as evidenced by the now-decreasing Bowers Parade air raid shelters, which were soon to be secured for the future. It’s been proposed that it be used for both educational and emergency training purposes.
The Harpenden and District Local History Society maintains a collection of local material and archives that can be consulted, as well as holding regular meetings on historical topics.
Harpenden and Harpenden Rural are the two civil parishes.
Harpenden, which is located in Hertfordshire just outside of London, has extremely high property costs. This is quite common in the area. According to Land Registry data, the average house price in Harpenden in the first quarter of 2006 was £500,902 (compared to £287,277 for St Albans District overall and £183,598 nationally). According to the data, an unusually high proportion of houses in Harpenden are owner occupied (81.4 percent , as opposed to 69.6 percent in the District generally, and 66.2 percent nationally). As of January 2012, the average price of a detached house was over £900,000.
Byron Road, Cowper Road, Kipling Way, Milton Road, Shakespeare Road, Spenser Road, Shelley Court, Tennyson Road, Townsend Road, Masefield Road, and Wordsworth Road are just a few of the streets named after English literary figures on the town’s East side (an area known as the Poets’ Corner).
The River Lea runs through the Batford area.